Phillies beat Giants to end their slump

The Giants' Andres Torres slides safely into home as Carlos Ruiz can't handle the throw in the first inning. The play gave San Francisco a 1-0 lead.
The Giants' Andres Torres slides safely into home as Carlos Ruiz can't handle the throw in the first inning. The play gave San Francisco a 1-0 lead. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 01, 2013

The Phanatic cruised onto the field in a tiny Fiat minutes before Tuesday's first pitch. The Phillies were home for the first time in 16 days. Everything had changed. Fans dotted the stands at Citizens Bank Park for a game between two former National League superpowers while the furry mascot attempted to escape the car.

He was stuck, or at least pretended. He wiggled for a few seconds. He jammed his head through the sunroof and twisted through the passenger door. The mascot knows his metaphors.

The games matter less these days, although a 7-3 victory over San Francisco was satisfying because it prevented the Phillies from achieving their longest losing streak since 1999. The defeats stopped at eight.

Two Phillies who may not be Phillies on Wednesday homered. Carlos Ruiz bashed his first in 308 days. Michael Young crushed one to deep left for his eighth, which tied his season total from 2012. Young is the likeliest to be moved before the 4 p.m. deadline.

"I want to win tonight," Young said before the game. "Whatever happens down the road happens down the road. It seems like a day away, but that's a long time in baseball talk, so the last thing I want to do is hamstring the team I'm playing for."

Winning was made easier because Barry Zito started a game not located in the Bay Area. He entered Tuesday with an 0-6 record and a 9.39 ERA in nine road starts. He threw 45 pitches in the first inning and allowed three singles, hit a batter, and walked home a run.

Ruiz's homer ultimately ended Zito's night. The Phillies could retain their catcher despite a forgettable 2013 because he is their best option at a difficult position. He long tried to atone for missed time due to a drug suspension and injury. His swing suffered. That home run marked Ruiz's fifth extra-base hit in 47 games. He had 48 such hits in 114 games a season ago.

"Carlos showed you last year what kind of hitter he could be," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's had a hard time getting back to where he was last year. I think it's still in there."

Both of these teams have seen better days. Hunter Pence arrived in South Philadelphia two years ago Tuesday, spray-painted his cleats red, and joined the Phillies. Most thought he was the missing piece to a championship team. Those 2011 Phillies won 102 games and did not advance in the postseason. The franchise is 131-137 since.

Pence, a free agent at season's end, now plays right field for the Giants. He is again embroiled in trade rumors.

San Francisco visited the White House on Monday so President Obama could congratulate the Giants for last season's championship. They now occupy last place in the NL West. Baseball is the cruelest game, and these Phillies know it.


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com.

Follow on Twitter @magelb.

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